Johan Franzen: Mike Babcock is 'the worst person I have ever met'
Former Detroit Red Wings forward Johan Franzen told Swedish publication Expressen on Monday that ex-Toronto Maple Leafs head coach Mike Babcock is "the worst person I have ever met," as translated by the outlet.
On a recent episode of the Spittin Chiclets podcast, Franzen's former teammate Chris Chelios said Babcock "verbally assaulted" Franzen during the 2012 playoffs while serving as bench boss in Detroit, causing him to have a "nervous breakdown."
"I get the shivers when I think about it," Franzen said. "That incident occurred against Nashville in the playoffs. It was coarse, nasty, and shocking. But that was just one out of a hundred things he did. The tip of the iceberg.
"He would lay into a couple of the other players. The nice team players, the guys who don't say very much. When they left the team he went on to focus on me. It was verbal attacks, he said horrible things."
Franzen admitted that as a coach, Babcock was "meticulous and well prepared" but said "he's a terrible person, the worst I've ever met. He's a bully who was attacking people."
The Swedish winger claims Babcock's tirades began one year prior to the event in Nashville and got so bad he struggled to get out of bed.
"From 2011 on, I was terrified of being at the rink," Franzen said. "That’s when he got on me the first time. I just focused on getting out of bed every morning from that moment. Last year I could sleep naturally for the first time since then.
"It was just his attacks, playing in my head. Each and every day."
Babcock was fired by the Maple Leafs on Nov. 20. Just days after his removal, it was revealed that in 2016, the former bench boss made then-rookie forward Mitch Marner rank his teammates by work ethic before showing the list to the players on it.